EurActiv - Letters to the Editor


Regarding ‘Regions want more say on EU growth and jobs policy‘ [1]:

I would like to share with you and your readers my shock and bewilderment upon reading the following statement in the Committee of the Regions’ final report on a New Strategy for Sustainable Growth:

“The Council of the European Union and the European Commission should set strategic goals and directions, ensuring that national policies are consistent with the interests of the EU as a whole. The member states should be more committed to fulfilling the goals of the new strategy and to fully involving the sub-national tiers of government and other relevant stakeholders in its implementation.” [2, p. 4].

This really makes me wonder who is “in the wrong film”: me who thinks that the people are the focus of any policy and that, hence, an EU policy should be developed based on the bottom-up approach – where the people of Europe state their needs and requirements, based on which the respective sectoral policies are developed at the local, national AND FINALLY integrated at the EU-level – or the Eurocrats who seem to think that the EU is all about bureaucracy and that the policies should be developed based on the top-down approach, where the !strategic goals and directions! are developed at the EU-level and then imposed on national governments and other stakeholders for implementation.

Do these Eurocrats never learn from their mistakes?!

Don’t they realise that exactly this top-down approach is the main reason for the failure of Community policies (the EU’s Strategy for Growth and Jobs, the 2010 goal for CO2 reduction and the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe are just a few examples)?

It is exactly because of this development approach that the EU’s Strategy for Growth and Jobs (alias the Lisbon Strategy), described as stillborn shortly after its 2000 launch, never worked in the nine years of its existence despite its 2005 correction and realignment. And it will never work as long as its goals are air-dropped.

It is high time to switch off the life-support system of the Lisbon Strategy and develop a completely new strategy that will be based on the bottom-up approach.

And it is high time for the Eurocrats to learn that, in order to be successful, policies (or at least their goals) must be developed by the people who will be the target of the policies.

Svetoslav Apostolov

[1] EurActiv. 2009. Regions want more say on EU growth and jobs policy. [online]
URL: (page last accessed on 07.10.2009).

[2] Committee of the Regions. 2009. Consultation of European Regions and Cities on a New Strategy for Sustainable Growth: A new Lisbon Strategy after 2010.
Available online: (page last accessed on 07.10.2009).

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